What’s not to like about a December night in Detroit with the temperature hanging around 60 degrees, especially if you ride a bicycle? That was how warm it was a few nights ago, so I took advantage of the mild temperatures and headed out on 2 wheels to explore downtown and beyond. After all, that night may have been the last comfortable evening before that white, slippery stuff fills the air and coats the streets creating dicey road conditions for more than just bikers.
Despite a slight hazy mist in the air and damp pavement from an earlier steady drizzle, it was a great night to be out on a bicycle. There was no need for a heavy or rain resistant jacket, gloves or other cold weather clothing; quite unusual for this time of year.
My night ride took me through Detroit’s mid-town neighborhoods and streets to downtown. Once there I headed south on Woodward Avenue through the city’s central business district. The store fronts and office buildings along that 6-8 block section were lined with colorful holiday lights that reflected and shimmered on the pavement in front of me.
After zigzagging my way through the downtown streets, I crossed Jefferson Avenue into Hart Plaza, a public outdoor space that faces the Detroit River. Despite the unseasonably warm weather, the Plaza was quiet and empty except for a few people slowly wandering toward the river.
From there I rode the RiverWalk to the Dequindre Cut. Just as I entered the urban greenway, I passed a couple of runners in full stride and a security guard sitting in his car keeping an eye on things. That was about it for people. The many wall murals and intricate, colorful graffiti found on the cement walls in the Cut took on a whole new appearance in the misty, Edgar Allen Poe type of night. The images and colors appeared flatter and eerier, as if the eyes in the images were watching my every move.
My ride wound down after a quick loop through the Eastern Market, a much different place on a weekday night versus Saturdays when it is jammed with shoppers. There were no lift trucks moving crates of produce from one building to another; no semi-trucks backing into loading docks; and the specialty stores that ring the market were all closed.
However, there were a few folks buying Christmas trees from vendors that were setup at the far north end of the market. It was a rather fitting end to a bike ride in Detroit on a warm December evening.